Researchers have made a remarkable discovery of peculiar radio signals originating from deep space. These enigmatic waves could potentially be bursts of cosmic energy emitted by a remote neutron star. Alternatively, it is plausible that scientists have stumbled upon an exceptionally advanced civilization located 90 light years away from Earth. The question arises: What kind of civilization possesses the capability to transmit such strong signals?
Scientists classify civilizations according to the Kardashev scale, a system that gauges a civilization's technological proficiency in harnessing energy. While this scale hypothetically encompasses five or more levels, most scientists typically reference only the initial stages. It is worth noting that, as of now, we are the sole known civilization and are still confined to type zero.
At our current stage, we have managed to tap into a fraction of our planet's potential energy, utilizing approximately 18 trillion watts of power each year. To progress to a type 1 civilization, we would need to consume over 500 times that amount every second. Achieving this feat necessitates harnessing, storing, and utilizing all available energy, including raw materials and sunlight. Furthermore, we would need to tame natural forces such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and other environmental phenomena.
Given our rate of development, it is conceivable that we could reach type 1 civilization status within the next 200 years. However, the civilization potentially discovered in the far reaches of space might already be a type 2 or even higher on the Kardashev scale.
Before contemplating the transition to a type 1 civilization, it is imperative to prioritize the preservation of our planet. For instance, the Colorado River is experiencing a severe water shortage due to excessive consumption and the effects of climate change-induced drought. In 1999, two lakes along the river were almost at full capacity, but today they are merely a quarter full. While the Biden Administration and most states have supported efforts to reduce water usage, California, the largest consumer of water, has not fully embraced these measures. This situation is concerning, as balancing water needs is a challenging task, particularly in rapidly growing cities and agricultural regions. However, given that climate change affects us all, it is crucial to intensify our water conservation efforts and support leaders who are prepared to address this crisis. Only then can we begin planning how to harness the abundant energy available on our planet.
Once we have mastered control over all the energy accessible on Earth and ascend to type 1 on the Kardashev scale, the subsequent step entails a significant increase in energy consumption, approximately 10 billion times greater than before. Achieving this necessitates harnessing not only the solar energy that reaches Earth but also all the energy emitted by our star. If a type 2 civilization exists, it likely employs an extraordinary structure called a Dyson Sphere to accomplish this. Dyson Spheres are megastructures constructed around stars to capture and utilize the emitted energy in all directions. It is even conceivable that multiple Dyson Spheres could be assembled around the primary one to ensure minimal energy escape. The construction of a Dyson Sphere is an immensely complex feat that only advanced civilizations can accomplish, as it requires structures larger than the star itself. Although these megastructures should be conspicuous if they surpass stars in size, their detection could prove challenging. Once completed, a Dyson Sphere obscures nearly all visible light from its star. Nonetheless, the star would still emit heat, making it detectable through infrared light.
The strange radio signal originating from the star HD164595, located approximately 90 light years away from Earth, raises the possibility of an alien race intentionally directing a powerful radio signal towards us. Such a feat would require a civilization far more advanced than our own. A type 2 civilization would have the ability to utilize the resources of every planet in its star system and potentially beyond.